The Texas home of free agent NFL safety Earl Thomas was engulfed in flames on Thursday after officials suspect that it was struck by lightning.
Local media captured images of the home in the South Texas city of Orange near the Louisiana border.
Orange Fire Department Deputy Chief Payton Smith told reporters that officials believe that lightning sparked the fire. Firefighters told Fox 4 that Thomas was home when the blaze started but that he escaped unharmed. No injuries were reported. Per Fox 4, Smith said that firefighters were having trouble extinguishing the fire because of the vegetation on the property.
Thomas, 33, is not on an NFL roster. He hasn’t retired but hasn’t played in the league since 2019. The Ravens released Thomas for “personal conduct” during training camp in 2020 after he got into a fight with teammate Chuck Clark. Thomas’ teammates reportedly supported the release amid ongoing issues in the locker room.
Thomas previously played nine seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, where he made six Pro Bowls, five All-Pro teams and won a Super Bowl as one of the NFL’s elite defenders. His acrimonious split with the Seahawks included failed contract talks and flipping off the Seahawks sideline after a season-ending leg injury in 2018. He later said that his gesture was directed at head coach Pete Carroll as he suffered the injury without the security of a long-term deal that he’d sought.
In May, Thomas was arrested in Orange after allegedly violating a protective order with his estranged ex-wife. He’d said a month prior that he was “ready” and “in shape” as he sought to revive his NFL career. With preseason starting this week, Thomas remains a free agent.
A Texas native, Thomas played football at the University of Texas before joining the NFL in 2010.